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Ecclestone's battle with Australia continues

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has continued his ongoing battle with the organisers of the Australian Grand Prix.

12 months ago, Ecclestone had a war of words with Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Robert Doyle regarding the hosting costs of the event.

Melbourne’s Lord Mayor and a member of the Australian parliament both publicly state that Australia should walk away from Formula One as the costs do not represent value for money.

Ecclestone even stated at the time that: 'if he wants to cancel the contract, we'd be happy to talk to him about that. If he wishes to cease having the event in Melbourne, I am happy to discuss that with him.'

The Australian Grand Prix has been held in Albert Park since 1996 when the event switched from Adelaide. Albert Park's current contract with Formula One ends in 2015 and it is believed that Bernie would like to keep Australia on the calendar but only if they agree to switching the event to a night race.

Ecclestone is keen to switch from the current 5pm local time slot to improve its start time in Europe, but with there already being political arguments regarding the event, understandably the race organisers are less than convinced in the plan which would see costs increase further and also add environmental factors.

'We have a contract which we will respect - so up until 2015 we are in good shape. After then, we really don't know. Bernie Ecclestone told The Age newspaper as quoted by Autosport Magazine.

'If we were to have a divorce from our friends in Melbourne we would probably be walking away from Australia. Because I can't see how Adelaide could make it happen, or anywhere else, if Melbourne can't. The race itself, from our point of view, is probably the least viable of all the races we have.'

'We have other races ready to take the place of Australia - which we don't want to happen, But it would be wrong of me to have to report to our board, 'Terribly sorry about this but we have to walk away from wherever to retain Australia'.'

The Australian Grand Prix has been held in Albert Park since 1996 when the event switched from Adelaide.

The track has been a great hunting ground for British drivers over the past 15 years with Damon Hill, David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button all leaving Australia victorious.

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The Journalist

Writer: Red5 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 1 2012

Time: 10:00AM


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